Daily Management Review

Talks to Sell its Battery Operations Initiated by Nissan with Panasonic and Others


Talks to Sell its Battery Operations Initiated by Nissan with Panasonic and Others
In a news report Reuters quotes various sources that say that Nissan is looking to sell off its controlling stake in a car battery manufacturing venture. The report also quotes the sources saying that the Japanese auto maker is in talks with Panasonic Corp for this purpose as well as with other overseas companies that include some Chinese firms.
The Japanese company has a controlling share of 51 percent in Automotive Energy Supply Corporation which makes lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. Sources were quoted by Reuters claiming that Nissan wants to sell off its entire stake in that company. Nissan owns the company jointly with NEC Corp.
Nissan authorities is of the view that it would be cheaper for the company to buy batteries for its electric vehicles that include its Leaf model from other makers and that  is the reason that the company is looking to sell the company, reported Nikkei daily had reported on Friday. But there was no mention of the source of the information in the news report.
Nissan said in an email that talks of the sale "is speculation, and is not based on any announcement by us." There was no comment from the spokesmen for Panasonic and NEC.
The auto market and auto accessories industries anticipate that a growing number of lower emission cars will be produced in the coming years and this prediction has resulted in a heated competition among battery manufacturers to supply batteries for electric vehicles which would be launched worldwide in a few years time.
One prime example of this is Tesla motors that has announced its intention to boost its total vehicle production to 500,000 in 2018 - two years earlier than its original target and it itself produces batteries for its electric vehicles from Panasonic at present.
Another example is Nissan and Renault SA, both of which predict that the demand for electric cars would be more than conventional cars and both the companies have bet on such vehicles under Carlos Ghosn who heads both companies. With the intention to build as many as 500,000 batteries per year to power models that included the Nissan Leaf compact, both the companies had pledged to invest 4 billion euros ($4.43 billion) in 2009.
But Nissan and NEC have been unable to lower battery costs through mass production due to the fact that the project did not go off well and sales of the Leaf and those of other electrical vehicles have been disappointing.
In 2014, there were reports in the media that Ghosn was planning to use battery packs made by LG Chem instead of using batteries produced by AESC and Ghosn was preparing to cut battery production. 
Sources have also been quoted in the media claiming that its 41 percent stake in auto parts supplier Calsonic Kansei Corp was also being sold by Nissan and the process is going on.
As Nissan seeks to better compete with bigger rivals such as Toyota Motor Corp and Volkswagen, the automaker agreed to buy a 34-percent stake in Mitsubishi Motors Corp for about $2.2 billion in May.

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